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Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Programme Specification: Part IB Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

This course is taught by the Department of Biochemistry.


  1. To build on the Part IA Biology of Cells, providing an advanced foundation for specialist further study of Biochemistry or other molecular biosciences in:
    • the structural organisation of genes and the control of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes;
    • protein structure, enzyme catalysis and protein engineering;
    • the control of metabolic pathways, energy transduction and cell growth;
    • the methods used to analyse biochemical structures and processes;
    • the implementation of experimental protocols, use of laboratory equipment and of software to analyse molecular structure and sequences.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students should have knowledge and understanding of:

  1. recombinant DNA technology; chromatin structure, gene expression;
  2. protein structure and folding, conformational mobility and stability, principles of enzyme kinetics, enzyme mechanisms, allostery and antibody recognition and protein design;
  3. structural basis and mechanism of energy transduction in organelles and organisms, and of the control of metabolic flux;
  4. the control of eukaryotic cell cycle; the principal mechanisms by which oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes perturb normal cell proliferation;
  5. signal transduction across membranes and within and between cells;
  6. molecular interrelations of selected microorganisms (including protozoa) with host organisms;
  7. the mechanisms of protein secretion and flagellar motility in bacteria;
  8. the analysis and critical interpretation of the results of biochemical experiments using examples from their own laboratory practice, journal clubs and lectures.

Teaching and Learning Methods

These include lectures, practical classes and discussions, computer applications, journal clubs and supervisions.


Assessment for this course is through:

  • two unseen written examinations based on the content of the lecture courses (for aim 1 and learning outcomes 1-8);
  • one unseen written examination based on practical work conducted throughout the year, and drawing on the background given in lectures (for aim 1 and learning outcomes 1-8).

Courses of Preparation

Essential: NST Part IA Biology of Cells
Knowledge of A2-level Chemistry is assumed.

Additional Information

Further information on each subject is available in the Subject summary and on the Course Websites pages.